Will everything you own pass to your partner when you die? Don’t leave it to chance.
Don’t leave it to chance – Make a Will
It is a common misconception that, if you die without leaving a valid Will, the ones you consider your close family at the date of your death, will automatically inherit from your estate. Bindiya Patel, a Solicitor at Actons in Nottingham outlines how the Intestacy Rules work.
You are in a long term relationship with your partner (having decided that marriage was not for you). You do not have any children together. You live in a property which is in your sole name, and you both have individual savings accounts. The only joint asset that you have, is a current account which is used to pay your household utility bills.
When you die, everything that you own (i.e. your property and savings) will pass to your partner and vice versa.
In this scenario, the only asset your partner would automatically inherit is the joint current account. This is because there is a ‘right of survivorship’ – this means that joint assets automatically pass to the surviving joint owner. Your partner would not have an automatic entitlement to the remaining assets in your Estate (i.e. your property, savings and your own household and personal goods). Your partner would be at risk of being without a home to live in and your Estate would pass to your next of kin under the Intestacy Rules.
The Intestacy Rules set out which of your blood relatives inherit your estate in the absence of you making a valid Will. Assets could be divided between distant relatives with whom you may not have had any contact with during your lifetime. Under the Intestacy Rules, your Estate would be inherited in following order of priority:
- Brothers and Sisters;
- Half Brothers and Sisters;
- Uncles and Aunts; and
- Half Uncles and Aunts.
If there are no living blood relatives at the date of your death, your Estate would pass to the Crown.
Is this what you would want to happen to your assets when you die? Would you want to make sure that your partner did not risk losing their home? Making a Will is the best way to avoid the Intestacy Rules taking effect on death, and to protect your loved ones including your partner. A Will is a legal document which sets out what you would like to happen to your assets on your death, and to carry out your wishes in a modern day world.
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Bindiya Patel is a Solicitor and member of the Private Client team at Actons Solicitors based on Regent Street in Nottingham. The team are ranked at Tier 2 in the East Midlands “Personal Tax, Trusts and Probate” section of the Legal 500, the definitive guide to the legal industry.